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You're not alone!

Dear Families:

I wanted to share some of my quarantine experience so far. Maybe yours is similar. Maybe not. Either way, I just have to be honest! If this is totally not you, then you can have a good laugh. If it sounds familiar, then know you are not alone.

Here goes:

My kids are on a ten meal a day schedule-half of them involving fruit snacks

Each day they have at least one fight that I'm sure is going to end in a death match

Even the dogs are craving alone time

If it weren't for my cell phone, I would have no idea what day it is

I've eaten everything in the house that even remotely tastes like chocolate

My living room looks like Toys R Us dumped the last of its inventory before closing right into my house

My vacuum cleaner sounds like one of those baby toys that pops when its pushed

Toilet paper is now a precious commodity

We all flock to the window whenever anyone walks by just to see who it is

Walking the dogs feels like a game of frogger, dodging every other dog walker

I have to remind my disappointed kids almost every day that parks and playgrounds are closed

Did I mention I ate all the chocolate?

Daily chores seem a bit more tiring

My mom lives with us, and I worry about being able to protect her from this

I worry that what I'm hearing in the news is not the truth

I worry....

And that's why I need to pray. As we near Easter, I remind myself that if we were perfect people capable of dealing with excessive worry that we wouldn't be in need of a savior who was willing to die for us. Jesus doesn't tell us to put on our big girl(or boy) pants and do it ourselves. He tells us to rely on Him. I had to sit and write this down, because I realized I've been doing it wrong these past 15 days(or 100-who's really counting?). I keep feeling like I have to complete one more task before praying. Or I think I haven't done enough "good" to sit down and talk to God. I do have to admit that in this current state of turbulent waters, there have been MANY beacons of hope in the form of amazing people. And there are many opportunities for us to actually be helpers from the confines of our own homes. I'm going to list a few later, because I do feel like it's important for us to focus on the good and to participate in it ourselves. However, I also think that it's OK to sit down and share our deepest darkest worries with our Savior, our Heavenly Father. It is OK to admit we do NOT have all the answers and we most likely need some help. It's OK to feel like we're not doing everything right. It's even OK if we're definitely not doing everything right. That's the part that reminds us we are not whole without Jesus. And He will never turn away our prayers, no matter how unprepared or un-good we feel. The important thing is that we keep sitting down to meet with Him. That we keep praying from our hearts. That we keep on with our lives as a saved people in a tough world.

As I said before, there are many ways we can help. The next time we brave the grocery store, we can pick up some extra things for the local food pantry. Those of us who can sew can help to make face masks for the nurses and doctors on the front lines. We can simply say "THANK YOU" to grocery store workers who are risking their health so we can buy food. We can still smile at each other as we pass! We can connect with others in encouraging ways via phone, email or snail mail. We can even give blood. I know there are other ways to help that I'm not listing. The important thing is that we take care to nurture our souls first. We have to know that there is an Almighty God who has promised not to forsake us, no matter how good or bad we feel like we're doing in life.

Once we get to that point, we might even be able to see some good in all of this....

Father Keith sent out a wonderful message about taking the time to slow down. I think everyone could benefit from a little break, especially those who usually find themselves overbooked and weary.

We can have time to reconnect with family and friends, even if it means sitting down to a meal together via facetime. Even though my kids have been fighting alot, they have also had some amazing imaginary play sessions together. Awesome things can happen when you just take the time to be together.

We can still enjoy the outdoors. Even though many parks and trails are closed, we can still enjoy nature through simple walks and play time in the yard. We plan to work on our kids' bike and scooter skills. If you don't have access to sidewalks, you could make a fairy garden outdoors or take some cars and trucks out to play in the dirt. It's also cool to see what kids come up with on their own when they have time to think and explore.

Rainy days are a little tougher, but can still be opportunities for great things. If you're on facebook, I'm sure you've seen the many online resources for things like art classes, read alouds and virtual museum tours. These are all great ideas for fun family time together. No matter what activity you choose, the point is that you get to have time together you wouldn't normally have.

Most importantly, we have been given a gift of time to focus on our faith journey. As I said above, I personally had a hard time feeling like I had to get through my to-do list before I sat down to pray. But God really wants us as we are. He wants us the first second of every day and every second after. And now we have the perfect opportunity to give Him that time!

So...I pray that you pray, and together our prayers(no matter how desperate), will be louder than the fears and doubts encircling us. I pray that our prayers can help to bring others out of their darkness and into the light of hope. And finally I pray that you can all find peace and rest knowing that no matter how empty and worried you may feel right now, you can still be made whole through the miracle of Jesus Christ

Here's a very simple prayer that you can teach your children if they are starting to pick up on some of the fear going around now:

Dear God,

When I am afraid,

I will trust in you.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

From Psalm 56:3

From Prayers for Little Hearts by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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